Why ACORN’s usual excuse won’t fly this time

By now I’m sure you’ve heard of the Acorn prostitution stings made by O’Keefe and Giles and discussed all over the web. I haven’t seen the NY one, but I have the other two. And while many on the left are giving Acorn’s traditional excuse of saying these employees were aberrations working on their own, it’s becoming more and more clear that this explanation is wearing thin. It’s not just the sheer number of times they’ve been caught, it’s the way it all went down. While the details varied, the big issue IMO (well, ok, not blinking an eye at child sex trafficking is the big issue, but that only explicitly happened once; they never mentioned the age in the DC one) is that they all went immediately to tax fraud. If we condense the conversations down to the logical train of thought, they both went like this (and tell me if the NY one was the same):

O’Keefe: I need to get a loan for a house.
Acorn: You need tax returns to get one.
O’Keefe: We don’t have tax returns for her.
Acorn: Why not?
O’Keefe: Because her profession is illegal.
Acorn: OK, here’s how to fake a tax return that won’t arouse suspicions.

(The Baltimore one was actually the most explicit in this case, actually going so far as to ponder how many of the El Salvador kids could be written off as dependents before it would arouse suspicion from the IRS).

In both cases, there seemed no hesitation, no discussion of what to do, no concerns on the part of the Acorn employees. It was very simple: if they can’t obtain a loan through legal means, we’ll have to do it illegally. All the child sex trafficking and suggestions to bury the money in a tin box and warning O’Keefe to stay away if he ever wants to get elected and all is just icing on the cake.

Now, is it possible that these are just outliers? Of course. But you know what they say: once is an anomaly, twice is a coincidence, three times is a pattern. O’Keefe is being very sly about how many of these videos he has. Maybe it’s 4 or 5 or 6. Then what’s Acorn’s excuse? “Hey, only 35% of our employees suggest tax fraud! 35% of bad apples doesn’t spoil the whole batch!”

At what point does the “these are just aberrations” defense become absurd?

Like I said, the Acorn employees went straight to tax fraud. Nobody batted an eye like that. Acorn can say their employees go through rigorous training, but we have their word vs these videos? Surely the legal issues of giving tax advice would come up in their training somewhere? These videos show two employees present when tax fraud is being suggested. If it was just one, and their training does cover this, shouldn’t the other employee have spoken up?

This sounds like a systematic “ends justify the means” philosophy at Acorn, not a few bad apples.

And the same goes for at least some of their voter registration fraud issues. For example, their charges in Nevada this year specifically cited Acorn’s quota policy (I don’t know if it’s a national policy or just that office). Basically, if their employees didn’t bring in a certain number of new registration forms each day, they were fired. And monetary bonuses were given out if they brought in more than their quota. And then they’re shocked, shocked! to find their employees bringing in fraudulent forms. What the bleep did they think was going to happen?!? Given that they deliberately set up a system that would invite fraud, the “don’t blame us, we trained our employeess not to do that” excuse doesn’t hold.

Acorn is an inherently political organization. They want to community organize into a politically powerful constituency. Politics, as we all know, has a way of killing morality and principles. That is why conservatives have been on their case. And given these revelations, it seems the odds are getting pretty likely that there’s a reason for these concerns.


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